(Update: Visit Hearing God's Call for an article and the whole interview!)
I sat down with Dave Lozinger of Hearing God's Call last Friday (October 9th) to speak with him about the new English translation of the Mass and my book, Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People. Our conversation will soon be available on his web site, but here's a short excerpt:
Here's the MP3 (2:26, 2.2 MB):
with Dave Lozinger of Hearing God's Call, October 9, 2009
Dave: What's the background, this new English translation?
Jeff: Well, let's go back to the Second Vatican Council just to put some groundwork down. The Second Vatican Council, the first document they put out was on the liturgy, and that tells you right away how important the liturgy is to the Church.
Dave: And what was the name of that document?
Jeff: Sacrosanctum Concilium which means "This sacred council," that's the first words of the document. Now in this document there are so many phrases that are used almost every day in the Church: the Eucharist as the "source and summit" of the Church's life, "full, conscious, active participation" – those phrases come from this document. Now, one of the things this document said is that the vernacular should have a place in the Mass. (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 36, 54) And where we are today is, most of us know the Mass simply in the vernacular, whether it's English, French, Spanish... Now, the thing is, this vernacular translation comes from the Latin original, which means the English translation we have is only as good as the people who translated it. In the next couple years we're going to have a new translation; there's not going to be a new Mass, but it's going to be a new translation of that Latin original.
Dave: What's the impetus behind it? Who's driving it?
Jeff: Well, it goes back to Rome, it goes back to the Vatican. In 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship put out a document called Liturgiam authenticam which means "Authentic liturgy," and this document was, I think, the fifth document coming from the Vatican about how to properly apply Sacrosanctum Concilium, how to apply that constitution on the liturgy. ["Fifth Instruction 'For the Right Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council' on the Use of Vernacular Languages in the Publication of the Books of the Roman Liturgy"]
Dave: So was there the assumption that it hadn't been applied properly in the first place, or that there needed to be some sort of correction or calibration?
Jeff: I would say correction and calibration; I would say that this is an ongoing experience for the Church, because the vernacular in the Roman Rite is a novelty, let's put it that way. It's something we've only had for a few decades, and it's something that, honestly, it will take a while before we're comfortable with it. There's a lot of misconceptions about the vernacular: people think that if you say "Latin Mass" you're referring to the Mass before Vatican II, when the Mass that we...